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Connecticut Advances RFID License Plate Legislation
Connecticut Senate Transportation Committee backs bill to explore implanting electronic tracking chips on license plates.

Paul Scully-Power
A lobbyist for the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) industry has convinced Connecticut legislators to consider implanting spy chips on the state's license plates. Last Wednesday, the state Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to pass a bill asking the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a report on the implementation of RFID for motor vehicle registration by January 1.

Implanting the chips on license plates would enable real-time monitoring of all vehicles by positioning tracking stations at key points throughout the state. The main interest behind the bill is to generate automated ticket for drivers whose vehicle registration, emissions or insurance certification may have lapsed for a day or two. RFID makes photo enforcement systems far more accurate. Instead of having optical character recognition software identify vehicles from a picture of a license plate -- often guessing when images are unclear -- the chips would broadcast vehicle identity to nearby stations under all weather conditions.

Former astronaut Paul Scully-Power brought the idea to the attention of lawmakers. Scully-Power stands to profit significantly should the technology be adapted at the state level, as he is the former CEO of Mikoh Corporation and SensorConnect Inc, both of which sell RFID solutions. Scully-Power's written testimony to highlighted how legislators would fare equally well by adopting the technology.

"There are two main reasons for the Department of Transportation to adopt this type of program," Scully-Power wrote in his testimony. "One, to validate that every vehicle conforms to state regulations. Two, to provide considerable income to the state by identifying vehicles that are violating the existing laws of Connecticut.... The state would collect $29,619,500 per year or $79,858,500 in the same three-year period compared to the $594,000 it was able to collect."

The financial estimates were based on the number of uninsured drivers the system could hit with $100 tickets. The system also would increase the profitability of red light cameras, which the legislature is currently considering authorizing.

"An RFID program would be phased in gradually and then expanded to accomplish other policing tasks without having to change equipment," Scully-Power wrote. "The second phase would be to implement speeding violations."

A copy of the legislation is available in a 210k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Senate Bill 288 (Connecticut General Assembly, 3/14/2012)

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